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World Premieres Grace Silverdocs

Nothing is more prized at a film festival than a World Premiere, the first go out of the gate of a film that can trace its origin to that very film event. It is what builds reputations for festivals and captures the attention of media professionals and press with special attentiveness. The Silverdocs International Film Festival, which ends on Sunday, has a good number of World Premieres to tantalize.

Chief among them is tonight's Closing Night Gala screening of THE NINE LIVES OF MARION BARRY, a profile of the controversial Washington DC Mayor Marion Barry, directed by Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer. As its title suggests, the popular black mayor was able to continue winning elections despite the media glare surrounding his drug abuse, sexual philandering and questionable dealmaking. When he was caught in a 1990 FBI string operation attempting to buy drugs with surveillance videos that were plastered all over the television, most political pundits predicted that Barry would never be able to win another election. And yet, win them he did, furthering establishig his reputation as a folk hero, a civil rights champioon and defender of the poor. In this film of obvious local interest, the filmmakers leave it up to the audience to decide whether the charismatic Barry was a scoundrel or a saint.

Also taking its World Premiere plunge at the Festival are the films CONVENTION, an omni-bus look at the 2008 Democratic Party Convention with an assembled team of prize-winning documentarians coordinated by director AJ Schnack; GOOD FORTUNE, a provocative look at the unexpected economic residue of well-meaning humanitarian projects that negatively effect the same communities in Africa they were meant to help, by director London Von Soest; JUNIOR, a touching portrait of a former showbiz trooper as he faces his senior years, as directed by Jenna Rosher; the provocative story of a woman's fight to save her daughter from ritualistic genital mutilation in MRS. GOUNDO'S DAUGHTER by Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwateras; the eye-opening THE PHILOSOPHER KINGS by Patrick Shen which features the stories of custodial workers whose innate wisdoom comes from the unlikeliest of sources; and Oscar-winning director Jon Blair's walk on the wild side of the drug trade in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro in DANCING WITH THE DEVIL.

Whatever other film festivals these films will play at (and considering their quality, it will be a considerable list), SILVERDOCS will always be the one where they got their first major exposure to film critics, media professionals and a wide audience. Considering the supportive creative environment and the enthusiasm of this particular audience, they have chosen their virgin journey well.
by Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor
http://www.fest21.com/en/blog/silverdocs_documentary_ff

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